The Greatest Thrift of All

This post is sponsored by thredUP. I recently attempted a closet purge. (And by “recently” I mean “my closet barfed all over my bedroom floor and I’ve only cleaned up half of it.”) I’ve known for awhile that I was developing a Fast Fashion problem, and then Jane Fonda announced she would never buy new clothes again and showed up at the Oscars in an “old” dress looking like honest-to-god FIRE, I thought, “YES I TOO SHALL BE A SUSTAINABLE QUEEN! I TOO COULD HAVE A DRESS LIKE THAT IN THE BACK OF MY CLOSET AND WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!” So far, such a dress has not emerged, but I realized I wasn’t “developing” a Fast Fashion problem. I had one. So many Target impulse buys! So many cheap graphic tees and black cotton tank tops! So many things I bought online and didn’t end up loving but was too lazy to return! So many things I’m holding onto for no real reason other than a weird wardrobe form of FOMO. (Like, I found a dress that I guess I could wear to Da Club? But I don’t go to Da Club? I don’t even know where Da Club is?... Read more →

Hacking the Back-to-School Hand-Me-Down (plus GIVEAWAY)

This post is sponsored by thredUP. photobombin ur sponsorships again yay You might think that, with three boy babies, the hand-me-down game would be pretty straightforward. And for awhile, it was! I shuffled onesies and footie jammies from child to child, removing anything too worn out, replacing the modest wardrobe gaps only as needed. As they grew, the hand-me-down bins got a little bigger and keeping them organized got a little more challenging (still never found that missing bin of size 3T shorts, btw!!), but overall, our annual back-to-school closet lift-and-shift system worked. And then the babies grew into people. People with opinions. Noah and Ike prefer to live in the standard-issue boy-uniform of Under Armour shorts, Old Navy jeans, and a variety of graphic tees. (Though by the time Noah's clothes shuffle on down the chain, Ike's been ending up with fewer and fewer wearable options.) They're doubly easy because they both like anything that's blue or orange. Any old video-game character will do. They each pick out one pair of (blue) sneakers and wear them until they fall apart, and will happily walk out the door in clothing that's visibly ripped or stained or inside-out if I'm not... Read more →

Of Growth and Change and Razors

This post is sponsored by Dollar Shave Club. A long time ago, in an office job far, far away, my coworkers and I were talking about shaving. (Why were we talking about shaving in the office? No idea. Boundaries, I clearly never knew ye.) We were in general agreement over the general crappiness/annoyingness of razors specifically marketed FOR HER!! BECAUSE PINK!!! and we'd all adopted our husbands/boyfriends' razor brand/style at some point and found them to be much better. Then someone complained that her favorite shaving cream had recently been discontinued and asked if we had any recommendations. When it was my turn, I shrugged and said I never bothered with it. I just got my skin wet in the shower and ran the razor over it. Sometimes I didn't even bother to do that! A little water on the blade and then just go at it! I might as well have scraped all 10 of my fingernails across a chalkboard -- the collective reaction of visceral horror on behalf of my poor skin was that strong. I was suddenly distinctly aware that I was possibly failing at proper adult lady-ing, especially since at this point I was already using... Read more →

Springtime Freshen Up

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Get an extra 30% off your first order at thredUP with my promo code: AMALAH30 It's springtime! Who's ready to do some shopping? /collective grooooooansssss Ah, the changing of the seasons, when those of us who live where we get the absolute worst of all four of them (my year is basically two long allergy seasons sandwiched between either unbearable humidity or blizzards) get to inventory our wardrobes to determine what: 1) still fits, 2) still bears some semblance of current fashion, and 3) didn't get eaten by moths or peed on by cats during its time in storage. Some years are better than others. This year was...not great, especially on criteria #1. Thankfully, once again, it's thredUP to the rescue! Where I can get new spring/summer clothing that: 1) still fits, and 2) is actually something I want to wear in the year of our lord 2019, and 3) doesn't cost a small fortune because the only things you can buy on sale right now are like, parkas and turtlenecks. But hurry! Because you have about 10 (literally) hot minutes to buy stuff for summer because the stores around here start trying to... Read more →

Who I Cook For

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron! My mom tried to teach me how to cook growing up. But for the most part, I was passionately disinterested. It was like I was downright determined to head off into adult life without the ability to scramble an egg or function without a microwave. I loved to help ("help") her bake cookies, of course, because cookies, and cookie dough, plus we stored all the Christmas cookie cutters in this weirdly inaccessible corner cabinet in our kitchen and I was the only one small enough to climb in and find them. I would toss them out and then pretend I was in Narnia for awhile while my mom did all the work. Anything else cooking related, I wanted nothing to do with. It was boring, I'd probably mess it up, why go through all that work when I'd rather just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Do you know how easy it is to microwave a hot dog? Why can't we just always eat hot dogs? But still, she tried. Family dinner time... Read more →

The New Old Normal

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with Blue Apron with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks! I came home from the hospital late Friday afternoon, just in time to meet the boys at the bus stop. I showered, changed my clothes, and unpacked the plastic hospital bag of pajamas and books and other ward-approved belongings. A few hours later, I made dinner. Chicken and poblano tostadas with roasted zucchini, to be exact. It was the easiest way to feel normal again. I've since learned not to rush back into "normal" too quickly -- the next day I attempted to take all the kids to all the lessons and then run all the errands by myself and nearly broke down in overwhelmed, anxious tears the YMCA parking lot -- but to focus on the little things. Like scrambling eggs, packing up backpacks for camp, folding laundry, making dinner. (Opting for comfort food much? Oh, you know it.) Dinner I can do. Dinner I can handle. Dinner has to happen one way or another, and I feel better and stronger for making an effort to spend 30-40 minutes on it... Read more →

Oh! Goody

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Raise your hand if you do any of the following things while shopping online: Go on a wild Add To Cart spree only to end up with a mortgage payment's worth of items at checkout, where you get overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Spend a inordinately long time debating the multiple color/size options on a single item (do I dare buy something other than black? what the hell is a S/M vs. a M/L? if the model is 5'11" and somehow wearing an XXS, what time does the second train arrive in Cleveland?) before getting overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Scream at your screen that you JUST WANT PANTS THAT FIT AND MAYBE A NICE TOP AND PLEASE STOP TRYING TO MAKE $150 BIKINI BOTTOMS A RELATED ITEM OKAY before giving up and going back to Amazon to look at costumes for your cats instead. Ahem. Yeah, my issues with clothes shopping run pretty deep. It's why I own so many yoga pants that I dislike almost as much as actual yoga. So I very much dig thredUP's latest product offering: curated Goody Boxes that outsource... Read more →

Will It Instant Pot? Blue Apron Edition

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 100 people will receive $40 off their first two weeks of meals here! My husband finally caved to the Internet Multi-Cooker Hype and bought us an Instant Pot. He bought it just a couple weeks before Valentine's Day, which is when I planned to buy him an Instant Pot, because he loves to blow up my gifting spot every. Single. Holiday. (He got socks for V-day.) He is MORE THAN A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH IT. Him: (looks at phone, eyes widen, gasps) Me: OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING IS HE GETTING IMPEACHED Him: (shows me yet another Instant Pot recipe) — amalah (@amalah) February 9, 2018 (After I finish this post I've been tasked with taking his precious Instant Pot full of his precious pork chili verde to his office to enter a cook-off on his behalf because he's stuck in meetings elsewhere. It's cute that he thinks I know how to turn the thing on, let alone how to not burn the building down.) (UPDATE: He won first place. I graciously accepted the award on his behalf. If he asks, just tell him about the spoon.) Anyway. What? Oh right. Our lives... Read more →

Brighten Up

This post is sponsored by thredUP. After the Great Floorsplosion last month, the contents of my closet remained scattered across the house for awhile -- most of my casual clothes got dumped in the bathtub, while the dressier stuff lay draped over furniture in the basement in various piles. Dresser drawers were stacked haphazardly all over the place. I decided to take advantage of the chaos and attempt yet another closet purge/editing/inventory project. After boxing up anything summer-y and everything that no longer fits (grumble grumble), I realized that I was sorely lacking in some nice basic sweaters and long-sleeved tops, and clothing in ANY other color besides black. So much black! Like my soul! I could hear the tsk of my mother's tongue. But you look so pretty in jewel tones, she'd say, as I left the house in head-to-toe black, all wannabe 90s-era grunge, with overplucked brows and fourteen coats of eyeliner. And so, when offered another shopping spree at thredUP (the world's best and largest online thrift store where you can find over 35 thousand brands at up to 90% off) (hi hi yes please thank you), I went in with a vague sort-of wish list: cozy... Read more →

Saving the Holidays (+Giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by RetailMeNot. So this is happening. Starting next week, the carpet is getting ripped up and hardwoods are going down, and all our furniture is going...I don't even know where yet. Crammed into the garage and a hallway. Maybe the bathtubs. We'll be living in the basement with a lot of boxes and some very confused dogs. While it will be SO NICE to have the project done in time for the holidays, it', not exactly convenient timing in the meantime. There will be no Christmas tree until the floors are done, and our holiday shopping budget is wafer thin. The kids aren't really asking for much, thank goodness, and as long as I agreed that the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and a few other decorations could come out of storage, they seem satisfied. (I set up a holiday-themed reading nook in place of the real tree, which has gone over really well. Ike has of course been wearing Christmas jammies since June.) (Stockings for Hobbes the Tiger and Tahu the Bioncle, naturally.) (Oh yay this guy again. I can't wait to forget to move him and bolt awake every night at 2 a.m., cursing the... Read more →